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Reviewed 19 March 2020

Hmmm….this stay was definitely a disappointment. It started with confusion during check in about our room and either a miscommunication via Expedia about the type of room we’d booked or a misunderstanding at the front desk. In any event, it was definitely a non-Sri Lankan welcome. (We've been to the LK a couple of times...)

I did very much appreciate that one of the managers, Lol (sorry for any misspelling), made an effort to seek me out to apologize. And, the wonderful staff at the restaurant were more typical of the Sri Lankan charm and hospitality that we’ve gotten to know. These efforts motivated me to give the hotel at least three stars.

However, my complaint is with the owner of the hotel.

Hello! - this property is in a prime location! It has ample acreage, beautiful trees, and, the building itself is an historic, architectural statement. But it is in very sad shape. It has the feeling of a Grand Dame who has been ignored for years and so no matter how charming and attentive the staff is, the hotel itself is depressing. The rooms desperately need upgrades. The whole facility needs a facelift – one that maintains its historic significance but brings the property to life. Such a missed opportunity! With its location, grounds and historic architecture, it could be a jewel within the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Instead. It basically offers an out-of-date sleeping room with a decent restaurant. If the owner can’t afford to bring this great property up to its potential, he should get a loan or a grant or sell it to someone who will give the property the attention it deserves.

If you just want a reasonably priced sleeping room in a very convenient location, the Sanctuary is ok.

(BTW - Trip Advisor, how on earth did you award this property a Certificate of Excellence in 2019? It demeans the value of that award when given to properties that far exceed this one.)

Date of stay: March 2020
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Sojourner_xx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quickshaws Pvt Ltd, Guest Services / Front Office at The Sanctuary At Tissawewa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2021

Dear Guest,


We take your comments on the hotel seriously and must mention that we had begun an upgrade of the rooms and interiors which we had to put on hold when the Easter bombing drove away tourist from the country. Just as we thought conditions would get better, covid hit us even harder. The owners felt this was not the time to get into debt without a positive outlook
.
The hotel is in good condition as is our levels of service but we agree some aspects would benefit from a facelift. Conditions are still bleak for the tourism industry but it is the owners intention to restart the upgrading program halted year before last, even if at snails pace, as we wait for the dark clouds to move over.

We apologize for every inconvenience caused.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2020

The Sanctuary at Tissawewa is a charming old hotel.
Ideal for using as base to visit the ruined cities nearby.
Staff are lovely & very helpful. Food choices were limited but understandable due to size of place.

Date of stay: February 2020
Thank jeyama2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Quickshaws Pvt Ltd, Guest Services / Front Office at The Sanctuary At Tissawewa, responded to this reviewResponded 27 February 2020

Dear Guest,

We are pleased to know that you had enjoyed your stay at this hotel . Our team takes note of your satisfaction on our service and meals . We all welcome you back to spend a few more nights on your next visit to Anuradhapura .

Thank you.

Best regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2020

We enjoyed our stay here in an interesting building with great atmosphere. The location is good for visiting Arunradhapura and the grounds are restful with interesting wildlife. There are Royal Gardens nearby and also a nearby lake with wading birds and an eagle. There are peacocks and monkeys in the grounds. The breakfast was very good.

Date of stay: February 2020
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank A7644NCrobertn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels Q, Manager at The Sanctuary At Tissawewa, responded to this reviewResponded 13 February 2020

Dear Valued Guest,

We are pleased to know that you had enjoyed your stay at this hotel . Our team takes note of your satisfaction on our service and meals . We all welcome you back to spend a few more nights on your next visit to Anuradhapura .

Thank you.

Best regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2020 via mobile

Rent a bike for 500 rupees (less than $5.00 a day), ride around the dike and through the rice patties to small village Neeraiya and back. A glorious ride even in the light drizzle. Birdwatch as you go to watch - the Malabar Pied hornbill and the glorious paradise flycatcher. A beautiful tranquil ride safe from the usual Sri Lankan busy roads.

Date of stay: January 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank j0eycalgary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels Q, Manager at The Sanctuary At Tissawewa, responded to this reviewResponded 24 January 2020

Dear Valued Guest,

We are pleased to know that you had enjoyed your visit to this hotel . We take note that you had enjoyed cycling around the city of Anuradhapura, and we welcome you back to spend a few more nights on your next visit to Sri Lanka .

Thank you.

Best regards,

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2020 via mobile

We only stayed for one night after visiting the various temples and religious sites of the sacred city. The entrance to the hotel is fantastic and your first thought is that you are going to be staying in a beautiful old colonial style hotel, however, once you enter the hotel you realise that internally it is run down and in need of refurbishment. It was also disappointing that their was no swimming pool ( I never checked beforehand, so my fault) but in high temperatures and humidity it was exactly what you needed to cool off. I was told by the manager that as the hotel is situated in the sacred city no swimming pools are allowed, however our driver/guide claimed this was untrue. As the front garden was well beautiful and well maintained I thought I could find a nice shady at the rear but their was no garden, it was a messy area used for garbage etc. On a plus side our evening meal and breakfast was very good. Sadly I have to say that I wouldn’t stay their again.

Date of stay: January 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank BenhamParty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels Q, Manager at The Sanctuary At Tissawewa, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2020

Dear Guest,

We are sad to read your review of our hotel and whilst apologizing for what you found wanting, would like give some background information which we believe is relevant. Refurbishment of the hotel is certainly over due and our plans last year had to be put on hold after the poor season post Easter bombing. However we do hope to revive them this year, but must point out that all our facilities are well maintained and in good working order. The need for a pool in a hot climate was obvious to us and we did apply to build a swimming pool many years ago but could not get the necessary approval from Government agencies. Our hotel which we have cared for with much affection for more than half a century, is Government property and as the hotel is more than 100 years old, falls into the Heritage Property list and hence subject to a host of strict regulations, part which arise from being within the Sacred Area of Anuradhapura. For us, alas at the last hurdle, one of the many Government Departments that decide our fate, rejected our application and so, the much needed swimming pool could not be built. No doubt there maybe hotels within the sacred city that do have swimming pools, but as this is Government property, our hands are tied. Being within the Sacred city also means we are not permitted to sell any alcoholic beverage.

We are sorry you did not enjoy the use of our front garden, for our patch of cultivated wilderness with the many species of native trees that flourish on it which is home and sanctuary to assorted fauna and is also importantly for our guests. The rear space is not meant to be so but as you point out could be tidier and we shall attend to this immediately.

Thank you.

Best regards,

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